Archive for the ‘Anonymity online’ Category

My Camera Editorial Advisory Board comment published on Oct. 4, 2008, in response to the Camera’s question: We are bombarded with political ads from all sides this season. Do the political ads in general, or the attack ads more specifically, impact your voting decisions? Do you feel that the ads help to educate voters, or do they cloud the issues?

Political ads can provide helpful information about the candidates and issues, and I do take into consideration some of that before I vote. However, most ads simply entertain or make me feel embarrassed for the attacker and the attacked. I don’t like attack ads. I don’t believe everything in them anyway. Consequently, they are not helpful.

The same goes for the diatribes and lies any of us engage in whether in person or online. Anonymous online comments seem to be the worst. Some people take them as a ticket to engage in that same attack-ad mentality seen on TV. But this time, they are saying it anonymously.

Some of those who post don’t seem to value truth, balance, civility and a myriad of positive communication necessities. It seems getting in the best jab or redirecting the discussion to their favorite issues is what it’s all about. I find it discouraging that with the myriad of communication avenues available to us today so many of us choose to use them to tear down another. Too bad attack ads aren’t the worst of it.

*This title was not part of the Camera publication.

Source: Daily Camera

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My Camera Editorial Advisory Board comment published on Nov. 17, 2007, in response to the Camera’s question: Anonymous commenting online a boon or bane to democracy?

Democracy’s marketplace of ideas has more contributors than in other generations thanks to the Internet. All can post whatever comes to their minds about whatever they wish. No one need to add a name with the comments, either. Just get them out there. One might think any problem could be solved with this unofficial effort at direct democracy. The nation is stronger for hearing from so many voices. Or is it?

The good side of this virtual war of words is stones don’t actually hit bodies. The bad side is that in this virtual world, victims still fall. Heading the list of victims is truth, fairness and civil discourse. Particularly when participants post anonymously but not solely when they do, discourse is much harsher and emotional rather than civil and thoughtful. Rules of decorum in only some places hold off ad hominem attacks, obscenities, lies and the like.

Dennis Prager points out on townhall.com in his Oct. 27, 2007, article, “Internet Anonymity Is as Destructive as Internet Porn,” the ability of anyone in society to debase public discourse is new. He added, “Being identifiable breeds responsibility; anonymity breeds irresponsibility.” I agree. This verbal tagging posed as discussion is often disrespectful, uncivil and irresponsible. That doesn’t bode well for our country, no matter how many voices are added to the marketplace.

*This title was not part of the original Camera publication.

Source: Daily Camera

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